The moment was a crucial one.
Hoping not to see a magical season come to an end, nationally-ranked Miami Springs was clinging to a two-run lead over Archbishop McCarthy in the top of the sixth inning late Wednesday afternoon.
The Mavericks had two runners on with two outs when head coach David Fanshawe went out to the mound. Carlos Rey had a three-hit gem going for the Hawks but was approaching 100 pitches and the team’s shutdown closer all season long, Jesus Gonzalez, was ready to take the ball.
But Rey pleaded with his coach to let him finish the inning. It paid off.
Rey induced an inning-ending force out at second off Andres Gancedo’s bat.
Gonzalez then came in to close out the seventh in order and the Golden Hawks had themselves a 2-0 victory over the Mavericks in a Region 4-6A quarterfinal contest at Springs High School’s Shelly Dunkel Field.
Ranked as high as No. 11 in Baseball America two weeks ago, the Golden Hawks (25-1) advance to the regional semifinals where they will host either Goleman or Plantation American Heritage at 4 p.m. Saturday.
The loss also completed an official fall from grace for a stripped-down McCarthy program. The Mavericks, who won seven state titles in an eight-year stretch from 2010-2017, finished 13-14 and failed to advance past the regional quarterfinals for the first time since 2008.
The Springs win also avenged an 8-3 loss to the same team in the same round on the same field a year ago.
“I was ready to come and get him and he asked me to let him finish the inning,” Fanshawe said of his starting pitcher. “To be honest, with what these kids have done this year and what they’ve accomplished, I feel they’ve earned the right in moments like that so I stayed with him and he got it done.”
Good defense got Rey out of a jam in the previous inning when McCarthy had runners on first and second with one out. That’s when Mason Moore hit a grounder to shortstop that turned into a well-executed six-four-three double play.
“I was nervous when coach came out because I thought he was going to pull me,” said Rey, who struck out six while walking five batters. “I asked him if I could pitch to one more batter and it was great that he showed the confidence in me that I could finish the inning.”
Springs scored the only two runs of the game in the bottom of the second. In what may have turned out to be one of the biggest plays of the game, with a runner on first and one out, Springs’ Anthony Godinez hit a sharp ground ball to third that could’ve been an easy inning-ending double play.
Instead, a bad throw from third went into right field to create a second and third, one out situation. After Justin Steffen dropped down a perfect safety squeeze suicide bunt to score a run, Anthony Nunez ripped a base hit to right to bring in the second run and that’s all Rey would need.
▪ Region 4-9A semifinal: Coral Gables 13, American 3. Pitcher Sydney Pell struck out six and went 1-for-3 at the plate to lead the host Cavaliers at home. Gables (18-10) will travel south to play Coral Reef in a regional final on Friday at 2 p.m. Kassandra Mendez (2-for-4, 2 RBI, 2 runs), Ericka Eusebia (1-for-2, triple, 4 RBI) and Rebecca Rodriguez (1-for-1, 3 BB, 3 runs) led the way offensively for Gables.